Business Growth Fund enters Wales with SHS deal

Barry-based scaffolding business Swanbridge Hire and Sales has become the first Welsh company to be backed by the Business Growth Fund.

The Business Growth Fund’s (BGF) South West of England and South Wales regional team has closed its fourth investment, and first in Wales.

Swanbridge Hire and Sales (SHS), which supplies high specification industrial scaffolding services, has netted £5.4 million of growth capital to support its expansion into new sectors such as nuclear, pharmaceutical and demolition.

The 14 year-old company was founded by Paul Smith and, for the year to end July 2012, reported a turnover of £14 million. The figure represents a 60 per cent annual increase.

BGF’s investment will also allow the firm to extend service lines such as insulation. According to a statement, the business is planning to double its size in the next three years, creating a theoretical extra 100 new jobs.

The deal is being structured by way of a mixture of preference shares or subordinated loan stock which is reportedly in line with investee preference.

Smith, founder and CEO of SHS, comments, ‘Over the last decade, SHS has built up a strong position in the scaffolding services market.

‘However, in our business a certain level of upfront investment of equipment and working capital is needed when taking on new contracts and we had reached a point where we felt unable to take advantage of all opportunities available to us.’

SHS says that ongoing construction and decommissioning of large-scale UK power plants will continue to drive scaffolding forward. It adds that the UK scaffolding service market is currently value at £4.2 billion and is forecast to grow to £4.8 billion by 2017.

Paul Oldham, BGF’s regional director for South Wales and the South West of England, led the deal for the bank-backed investment firm.

He adds, ‘Boosted by an injection of growth capital, [SHS] is in great shape to take advantage of growing demand for scaffolding services, challenge larger competitors and increase the number and size of contracts it takes on.’

Oldham hopes that SHS will be one of many successful investments in Wales. He adds that the firm is ‘working hard’ to inspire more entrepreneurs in the region.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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Business Growth Fund